College Hockey:
Atlantic Hockey Picks Jan. 25-29

Last Week: 11-2
On the Season: 99-45-21 (.663)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 26

Robert Morris at Air Force – The Falcons won the first meeting between the two teams, 4-1 back on Oct. 27. Air Force has won six of the last eight meetings between these former CHA opponents, including four straight in Colorado Springs. I think that trend continues. Air Force sweeps.

Niagara vs. Rochester Institute of Technology – Friday’s game is at RIT; Saturday’s is at Niagara. The Tigers have just one win against the Purple Eagles since moving to Division I but it was a big one: an overtime victory in last year’s Atlantic Hockey semifinals. Niagara leads the Division I series 7-1-5. All those ties, including a 2-2 game back in December, makes me think there willl be one in this series as well, probably Friday at Ritter Arena (RIT has never won at Dwyer Arena). But I can’t pick ties so I’m going with a Niagara sweep.

Bentley vs. Holy Cross – This is the top matchup among several outstanding series this weekend. The rivals are just a point apart in the bunched-up standings, with the Falcons tied for third and the Crusaders, who host on Friday, tied for second. Holy Cross won the first meeting between the schools 4-3 in November and is 6-1-4 in the last 11 meetings between the schools. But Bentley has enough to get at least a split, so I’m going with the home team each night. Holy Cross wins Friday; Bentley  Saturday.

American International vs. Connecticut – The Huskies are coming off a near-upset of No. 2 Quinnipiac and should take that momentum into this series. I like UConn to win both games, although I think the one in Springfield on Friday will be closer than Saturday’s contest in Storrs. Connecticut sweeps.


Saturday, Jan. 26 and Tuesday, Jan. 29

Mercyhurst vs. Canisius – Due to a water main break on Mercyhurst’s campus, Friday’s game has been moved to the following Tuesday. That means Round One is at Canisius on Saturday. These teams have faced each other more than any other opponent: 71 games and counting with the Lakers ahead 38-24-9. Mercyhurst won 3-2 in overtime earlier in the season. This time out I’m picking a split with the road team coming out on top.  Mercyhurst wins Saturday; Canisius on Tuesday.


Sunday, Jan. 27

Sacred Heart at Princeton – Another tough road game for the winless Pioneers. This game and Army’s Saturday exhibition against the Royal Military Academy are the final non-conference games playing by Atlantic Hockey teams this season. Princeton is playing it’s best hockey of the season, 3-1 in it last four games. Princeton wins.

Feel free to chime in by posting your picks in the comments and follow me on Twitter @chrislerch for updates throughout the weekend.

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  • G4456mm


    Enjoy reading your column. Interesting split at LSSU this weekend. Do you know what the Lakers Saturday game record is so far this year? Do you use this kind of information in making your picks?

  • http://twitter.com/Butterz07 Aaron G.

    well that is foolish, Smith might be good but scoring a goal per game while playing in an inferior league doesn’t help.  defense is non existent as is scoring and im positive that if he had a full schedule against the WCHA or possibly Hockey East  he wouldnt produce as he does.  Stop looking at goals and start watching tape.  there are more stats to figure in when winning the hobey.    Frattin deserved it last year as he dominated weaker teams and stood out on the ice as a premier hockey player. All said in done  I hope Smith does win it, but so far I don’t see him deserving it.

  • Guest

    Frattin deserved it last year? LOL. Miele’s stat line was ridiculous and looking at the CCHA this year it is even more impressive since no one is even coming close to that mark. 

    As for the article, saying have 1G/game is so much better than 1A/game seems a bit out there. Yes, scoring goals leads to wins but you can’t get assists without someone else on the team scoring goals so either way you are contributing to the scoring. 

    Good luck to Austin Smith going forward he is a great player. 

  • Skennys2145

    @Aaron G.- “Defense is non-existent”??
    Three of the top six teams in the country are in the ECAC- Union, Quinnipiac, and Cornell!
    I guess that now you’ll say that they don’t face the best offenses so those numbers don’t mean anything.

  • ECAC is where hobey played

    To say that Smith is doing it against “inferior” competition is just crap.  Look at the latest “Scoring Defense” leaders.  Smith has played against 5 of the top 8 defenses.  (Ferris State, Quinnipiac, Cornell, Miami and Merrimack).  Oh yea he will be facing the top defense in the country this week, so that will be 6 of 8.  The rest of the country is right, weak competition. 

    And remember that Quinnipiac shut him out on the road but he had two GOALS against them at home. 

    Lastly, I think the biggest hurdle he has is that he plays for a school which has 2000 students and does not have the entire STATE of New York behind him.  The other players have larger fan bases because everyone in the state is cheering for them, not just a small private school in upstate ny.

    • ECACFan

      He actually had 3 against Quinnipiac at home. 

    • http://www.collegehockeypulse.com/ mrjakep

      I agree with you on the size of school and not getting nation wide recognition!  It’s terrible hard to know exactly how good these players are when there is not much besides online media that covers the sport!  (It’s getting better though!)

      Curiosity is killing me so I have to ask.  You obviously follow the ECAC so I would assume you live somewhere in the north eastern part of the country.  So my question to you is do you hear much press about the players in the Atlantic or the WCHA.   I  would assume (and you know what they say) that you probably hear quite a bit about Hockey East  and ECAC!  

      Just curious!  I have met some people recently online that have shown me that there are tons of great match-ups and stories that are out there about teams and players that I had never heard about!  I think its amazing that in this day in age you would have no idea that these great college hockey little tid bits are out there and know one has a clue!  

  • Puckmaster

    You’re all kidding right?  Look at Smith’s contribution to his TEAM.  The percentage of goals scored and points.  He and Wagner are playing at a different level right now and yes Smith does deserve the Hobey if anyone does.  One more point, 6 goals while a man down, how great is that?

  • ColSkate

    If you’ve seen Austin in person on the ice you should know there’s a lot more to his play than just goals and assists. Take a look at how he anticipates the play, has extremely good vision for where his teammates are and how scoring chances can develop from opponent’s broken up passes. His quickness and smarts on the ice are why he’s leading the nation in SHG. That SHG stat says as much about why he deserves the Hobey as his goals/assists totals. He may be the most opportunistic player at the D-1 level. And this would hold up were he playing for Duluth or St. Lawrence.

  • Unionbob

    ecac not a good league?…
    and where did Hobey come from????

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